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Letting It All Hang Out

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Neal Riley reports in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Undressing in public will likely no longer go unpunished in San Francisco, as the Board of Supervisors voted by the barest of margins Tuesday to ban public nudity.

Derided by nudity defenders as an attack on personal expression and supported by others who've had enough of seeing those who let it all hang out, the legislation bans genital exposure on all city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets and public transit.
As for the outdoor venues, I would have thought that San Francisco's permanently chilly weather would be a sufficient deterrent.  I wear a sweater there in August.  But some nudists are determined.

You know what comes next, of course:
And a lawsuit, which was filed last week, is pending. Attorney Christina DiEdoardo, who is representing several people opposed to the ban, said a federal judge could order an injunction to stop the law from taking effect during a hearing scheduled for Jan. 17.
That is a seriously uphill battle (in a city with serious hills).  See Erie v. Pap's A. M., 529 U.S. 277 (2000).  The high court's most recent public nudity case is Sole v. Wyner, 551 U.S. 74 (2007), and in that case the underlying nudity-as-expression issue didn't even make it to the high court.  The naked protestors got a preliminary injunction but later lost on the merits, and the question was whether they were "prevailing parties" for an award of attorney's fees.  (Unanimous answer: no.)

The ordinance has exceptions for such quirky San Francisco institutions as the Bay-to-Breakers race and Gay Pride Day.  Will the exceptions be the ordinance's undoing?  Stay tuned.

1 Comment

One finds it difficult not to view this vote for public nudity in particular,
and the perverse culture of many in San Francisco in general,
as participants in the larger demise of Western Civilization.

'Tis not the liberty for which I have served in the U.S. military.
True liberty is not the licence to due what one wants;
it is the freedom to do what one ought.


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